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Posts Tagged ‘brown beer’

Trooper Hallowed

Rating: 3.35

Apparently the fourth the a series of beers inspired by the band Iron Maiden, although it is only the second the series that I’ll have tried after not being much of a fan of the 2013 original Trooper when I tried it not long after it was released. This offering from Robinsons is a Belgian style dark ale which is the only reason I picked this one up when I spotted it in the shop last year, well that and the fact the bottle cap was a good one. The beer is the sixth from the brewery that I’ll have tried with the last being their Mojo Pale Ale last year and that wasn’t particularly great either, in fact the only okay beer I’ve had from Robinsons is their Old Tom English strong ale from five years ago so I’m not holding out much hope for this one now and likely wouldn’t have bothered with it had I remembered this before picking the beer up.

Appearance (4/5): Caramel amber in colour with a surprisingly clear body and a thick looking, creamy head that was a light tan colour and holds about a centimetre tall after starting roughly double that size.
Aroma (5/10): Surprisingly light and one-dimensional on the nose, there’s some semi-sweet malts with touches of sugar in the early going as well as some faint butterscotch touches. Further on there is some darker fruits and touches of smoke, I got a little plum and fig but neither truly grabbed your attention and it seemed a touch weak at times without being a really bad nose.
Taste (6/10): Opening with a lot of sweet malts, there was more here than with the nose as well as a lot of dark fruits that included some of the plum and fig from the nose as well as some raisin and prunes. It was a little more pronounced at this point too with some alcohol grain and basic spices before some caramel malts and touches of banana came through to add to the sweetness.
Palate (4/5): Quite a sweet beer with a medium body that was slightly lighter than anticipated, the beer was a finely carbonated offering that had some alcohol showing which I thought could have been better hidden given it wasn’t an overly strong beer. There was some sweet malts and spices nearer the end and the balance was fairly good too without it being a beer that grabbed your attention.

Overall (13/20): This one was a bit up and down at times, it started well with some nice sweetness from the malts and dark fruits but there wasn’t a whole lot to it after that it seemed a little weak and one-dimensional at times. It was Belgian influenced at times as the bottle suggested but it fell far short of what I’d expect from a Belgian brewed beer of this style. It’s a better beer than the original Trooper beer in this series from Robinsons but it didn’t do enough for me to make it a beer that I’d pick up again.

Brewed In: Stockport, England
Brewery: Robinsons Family Brewers
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Dubbel
Abv: 6.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: B&M Bargains (Glasgow)
Price: £1.25

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Nostradamus (381 of 1001)

June 29, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.35

The second of two beers that I managed to try at the t Brugs Beertje bar in Bruges recently and luckily enough both were beers that appear on the 1001 beers list; this particular offering follows on from De Koninck APA that I reviewed here recently and is the 381st beer from the list I’ll have sampled now. First brewed back in 1993, this one is a strong offering that comes in anywhere between 9 and 10% abv. with this particular bottle a 9.1% one. My first review of a beer from the Caracole brewery, this one is quite a highly rated offering and currently ranks as the 38th best Belgian Strong Dark Ale on the BeerAdvocate website and I went in expecting big things from the beer which is why I opted for this one over a couple other beers the bar had on the menu; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it last month.

Appearance (5/5): Dark ruby to mahogany, opaque with a tan brown head that’s about two centimetres tall and fades to about half that after a minute to leave a thick looking lacing with further build up around the sides.
Aroma (8/10): Quite strong and rich with a lot of dark fruits in the early going, it’s sugary sweet with some dates, prunes and raisins in there alongside touches of caramel malts, bread and some spices too. Further on I got a combination of cloves and banana to add further sweetness with some alcohol notes rounding things off.
Taste (9/10): Definitely a rich one with some nice fruity touches there as well, I got a mix of prunes and dates with some raisins and plums a little further on followed by plenty of dark malts. It was again a sugary beer with hints of caramel and nutty flavours that gave it quite a complex feel and some alcohol and spice seen things out.
Palate (4/5): Quite a full-bodied and rich beer with moderate carbonation for the style and it was smooth throughout. It’s complex and strong with a warming alcohol feel and some nice spices coming through. It was balanced with the ripe and dark fruits and banana imparting a solid sweetness along with the banana but it was surprisingly easy to drink.

Overall (17/20): Strong and rich, this one was a beer with a definite kick from the warming alcohol which goes well with the dark fruits, the dates and raisins the most pronounced with the plum a nice touch too. I enjoyed the banana and cloves around the middle to help the balance along with the caramel but I especially enjoyed how drinkable it seemed given the strength. There was a great balance throughout with lots going on and it’s definitely a beer I’d pick up again too.

Brewed In: Falmignoul, Namur, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie Caracole
First Brewed: 1993
Type: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Abv: 9.1%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: ‘t Brugs Beertje, Bruges, Belgium
Price: €4.00 (approx. £3.54)

St. Bernardus Prior 8

June 27, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.95

My fifth beer from St. Bernardus now, this one is my first new offering from them since I enjoyed a bottle of their Christmas Ale back in January of last year and prior to that the last I had was their Tripel way back in December 2013. This beer is a review of a bottle I picked up from a late-night beer shop in Bruges when visiting the city a couple of weeks ago and despite paying a premium for this one compared the normal price in Belgium, it’s not a beer that I regret picking up in the slightest. The beer is a dubbel that comes in at 8% abv. and is currently on listed on the RateBeer website as the world’s best Abbey Dubbel so I knew going in that it would be a good one and thankfully it did not disappoint.

Appearance (4/5): Dark brown in colour with mahogany tines and a few small pieces of sediment floating around the body too. The beer was dark with a centimetre tall head that was bubbly and covered the surface well, showing a little more build up around the edges as well.
Aroma (7/10): Quite fruits with some earthy hops and plenty of sweetness from the malts as well, there was nice caramel notes followed by some dates and prunes. Further on and some sugars made themselves known along with bread malts but there wasn’t anything overpowering, the nose seemed balanced with some plum and spices seeing things out.
Taste (8/10): Dark and quite rich like the nose, the beer was malty with touches of bread and a pleasant caramel sweetness that was backed up by some sugars and a combination of dark fruits that included figs, prunes, dates and raisins. Nearer the end I got some nice touches of banana sweetness with the plums from the nose featuring as well and there was touches of toffee, spice and dried fruits to see things out too.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and very well carbonated, the beer was lively with a dry feel and quite a rich complexity to it that stops you rushing through it despite the alcohol content being well hidden. There was a smooth feel to the beer and it was balanced as well, I liked the dark fruit sweetness that was complimented by the banana and sugars later on and it was quite an easy and enjoyable beer to drink.

Overall (17/20): This one was a very nice dubbel from St. Bernardus and one that went down very well thanks to the smooth and lively body as well as the good balanced and the fact that the alcohol content was quite well hidden too. It was dark with some nice caramel sweetness and plenty of malts, the banana in the taste was a nice touch though and worked well with the dark fruits; the dates and figs coming through strongest; a great beer and one I’ll look out for again.

Brewed In: Watou, West Flanders, Belgium
Brewery: St. Bernardus Brouwerij
First Brewed: 1946
Type: Abbey Dubbel
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Dagwinkel (Bruges, Belgium)
Price: €3.50 (aprpox. £3.08)

Trappistes Rochefort 8

June 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.95

The third review of a beer I sampled in Belgium now and also my third from Rochefort following on from their outstanding Rochefort 10 that I first tried back in 2012 and there excellent Rochefort 6 that I finally got to try in 2016. This one is the first review of those from Belgium that is for a beer that I could find easily enough in the UK but given I’ve still not got round to trying it until now, I decided to give it a go while I had a chance in Brussels at the end of last month and the beer also allows me to complete the Rochefort trio as the last of their beers that I had to try. Sampled when visiting the oldest pub in Brussels, Au Bon Vieux Temps, the beer probably wasn’t up to the standards of the previous two I’ve tried from the brewery but it was still quite an enjoyable beer and one I’m happy to finally have tried.

Appearance (5/5): Very dark brown and almost murky looking with an opaque body and a creamy head on top that was a centimetre tall and thick looking, holding well and managing to cover the entire surface of the beer well with some nice lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): Slightly dark on the nose with some prunes and caramel notes opening things up alongside what was a semi-sweet aroma followed by a few earthy tones. I could detect a little alcohol slightly further ahead with the odd cherry and some spice to see things out. It was a pleasant and balanced nose but also one that I felt could have been a touch stronger too.
Taste (7/10): Opening in a similar fashion to the nose with some prunes and darker malts kicking things off, the beer has some sugar and dates coming through towards the middle with some caramel sweetness at this point as well. I got some light apples and grapes around here too, something I hadn’t expected from such a dark beer as well as the spices that showed with the nose but again it wasn’t the most pronounced tasting beer despite the strong alcohol content.
Palate (4/5): Medium to full-bodied and semi-sweet with quite a smooth and creamy feel that was very well balanced and almost came through as light and fluffy at times.

Overall (15/20): Very pleasant stuff from Rochfort like both of their previous offerings that I’ve tried, although this don’t quite hit the height of their Rocherfort 6 and Rochefort 10 offerings sadly. The beer was a smooth one that came through lighter than expected for such a beer but still had some darker fruits coming through with dates and prunes both making an appearance. There was some nice caramel malts adding to the sweetness and the balance of the beer was a good one but I felt it was missing that something extra to make me want to rush back and have another whilst still being a good beer.

Brewed In: Rochefort, Belgium
Brewery: Brasserie de Rochefort
First Brewed: 1954
Type: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Abv: 9.2%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Au Bon Vieux Temps, Brussels, Belgium
Price: €5.00 (approx. £4.41)

Oerbier (375 of 1001)

April 23, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 4.55

A Belgian beer that I picked up a couple of months ago after spotting it in a Glasgow bottle shop again, I previously went to buy a bottle a couple of years ago but ended up changing my mind and going with the brewery’s Arabier offering instead; a beer that turned out to be quite a good one when I first tried it back in August 2014. Since then I’ve also tried another beer from De Dolle, their Stille Nacht in July 2016 and that was an excellent offering that I really enjoyed so I’m hopeful that this third beer from the Belgian brewery is also a good one; it’s a beer that apparently ages well so I’m planning on grabbing a couple more if it hits the heights of their Stille Nacht. Like both those previous offerings from the brewery, this one is another that features in the 1001 beers list and will be my 375th such offering from the book but I’m not making anywhere near as much progress getting through it as I’d hoped this year – every one gets me one step closer to the finish though I guess.

Appearance (5/5): Very strongly carbonated and fizzy when I first started to pour this one, the beer had a lot of bubbles and quickly formed a large head but after quite a slow pour it settled with one about two and a half to three centimetres tall with quite a foamy texture. The head itself was a creamy white and it looked quite thick, sitting as a wavy surface layer to the mahogany brown body of the beer; an amazing start and one that I can’t wait to try now.
Aroma (8/10): Rich and sweet on the nose initially, there was a nice helping of figs and dates with some other dark fruits sitting just behind this. The beer was complex straight away with some grapes and touches of apple coming through and balancing things out before the odd spice started to come through towards the end. There was a lot of sugars coming through from the start with some pear and raisin notes around the middle but it was quite a varied and interesting nose that was very pleasant too.
Taste (9/10): Opening in a similar fashion to the nose, this one is a very sweet beer with plenty of dark fruits coming through to get things started; there was some figs and dates from the nose with pears and raisin too then some plum bringing in the middle. It was a rich and complex tasting beer that was strong too with some alcohol touches showing and plenty of sugars. Further on I got some grapes and apple breaking through alongside some caramel and the odd malt but the later of these was relatively light; an outstanding tasting beer from the start.
Palate (5/5): Light-medium bodied and very sweet with an incredibly complex body and excellent balance, it opened with a tonne of dark malts but there was some nice caramel sweetness and a few lighter fruits to make sure nothing overpowered. The beer was very easy to drink and for the most part the alcohol content was well hidden, with only a small amount showing at the start of the beer. It did have a nice, warming feel to it towards the end though and a solid kick to it as well but it was a pleasure to drink throughout.

Overall (17/20): An outstanding offering from De Dolle, this one is easily the best of the three beers that I’ve tried from the brewery so far and one that was a complex but balanced tasting beer, opening with a lot of dark fruits and sweetness but never overpowering. It was easy to drink despite the strong alcohol content and there was some nice caramel malts further on that alongside the lighter fruits kept things interesting from the start. A great beer that I’ll definitely be on the look out for again and one that I’ll hopefully be able to grab a couple of bottles of and see how it ages too.

Brewed In: Diksmuide, West Flanders, Belgium
Brewery: De Dolle Brouwers
First Brewed: 1980
Type: Belgian Strong Pale Ale
Abv: 9.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £4.20

Angry Boy Brown Ale (368 of 1001)

November 14, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.6

Following quickly on from their Yabai Yabai Strong Scotch Ale, this one was the third beer from Baird that I managed to try from them in Japan and the second of the day; it was also my second keg offering from them after previously enjoying their Rising Sun Pale Ale in Tokyo a couple of days previously. Like the review of the Rising Sun Pale Ale, this one is another beer from the brewery that features on the 1001 beers list and is actually one I found in a bar in York a few years ago but never got round to ordering at the time so I was definitely keen to try it in Japan if I managed to find it anywhere. After reviewing this particular Japanese beer from the 1001 list, I am now left with eight more to check off and given this was the last Baird offering for me to try I decided to pay their Harajuku taproom in Tokyo a visit towards the end of my holiday in order to tick it off. Originally beginning life as a seasonal offering and a 6.2% abv. beer back in 2001, this one is now a regular in the Baird line up and the version I tried came in slightly stronger at 7% abv. as well.

Appearance (4/5): Caramel amber and quite clear with a one and a half centimetre tall, foamy head that is an off-white colour and holds with good retention over the opening minutes with some nice lacing on the sides and quite a thick look to it.
Aroma (6/10): Quite a light aroma here, there was some caramel and a slightly nutty smell with a couple of roasted malts and grains following on behind. The beer seemed fresh on the nose with a few subtle hops further on and grassy touches nearer the end without it ever really being as strong as I’d have liked.
Taste (7/10): Light, almost roasted malts and nut flavours kick things off with the taste before some subtle hops and citrus start to come through towards the middle. The beer was again fresh with a grassy hop taste further on and faint caramel that carried over from the nose featuring towards the end without it being as sweet as the nose, it was at least slightly stronger though.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and quite a clean beer on the palate, this one had some subtle hop bitterness coming through and it was moderately carbonated and easy to drink but also a little basic at times.

Overall (14/20): Quite a pleasant offering from Baird, albeit one that came through slightly lighter than expected but at least it was fresh and had some bitterness showing too. The beer was easy to drink and balanced with some subtle hops showing without being overly pronounced and overall the beer was quite a clean, sessionable offering that was well worth trying too.

Brewed In: Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan
Brewery: Baird Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2001
Type: Brown Ale
Abv: 7.0%
Serving: Keg (250ml)
Purchased: Baird Tap Room Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan
Price: ¥600 (£3.97 approx.)

Yabai Yabai Strong Scotch Ale

November 14, 2017 2 comments

Rating: 4.0

My fourth ever Baird beer now and the second of four that I managed to try in Japan as well, this one is a Scotch ale from the brewery that I picked up from the Sinanoya liquor store towards the end of my trip after failing to find any new beers from the 1001 list in the store. The beer is one that I later found on-tap during my trip when I visited the brewery’s Harajuku taproom on my last full day in Japan but I opted to try something new at that point. Yabai is a Japanese slang word that can be roughly translated as ‘risky’ according to Google, or even ‘awesome’ and the former would certainly sum up this fairly strong offering if you end up having a couple. This one is a fairly strong, 8% abv. offering that I hadn’t actually heard of before but following on from the brewery’s highly enjoyable Rising Sun Pale Ale that I tried a few days previously, I decided to give this unknown offering a try to see how it compared.

Appearance (4/5): Fairly dark, sitting a mahogany brown colour in the glass with a centimetre tall, foamy head that is a light tan colour and holds well initially with little early movement and a touch of lacing on the sides of the glass to start things off well.
Aroma (8/10): Fairly strong on the nose with plenty of caramel sweetness and toffee in the early going, as well as some subtle touches of alcohol. There is some further sugars around the middle of the beer with a few darker fruits coming through as well, most notably some plum and raisins as well as a hint of apricot before some rich, dark malts and roasted notes see things out.
Taste (8/10): Quite a strong and malty beer like the nose suggested, the taste opens with a lot of caramel sweetness with the toffee from the nose not too far behind either. There was a solid sweetness to the beer from the start with a nutty taste around the middle and some rich, darker fruits featuring around this point too; a combination of plum and raisin upfront with some dates following on behind. Towards the end there was a few more sweet malts and the odd subtle spice to see things out nicely as well.
Palate (4/5): Full bodied and quite a thick beer with a smooth and strong feel to it, this one had some alcohol coming through early on but thankfully nothing overpowering, it just provided a nice kick and slightly warming, boozy feel to the beer as things went on. Carbonation levels were relatively soft here and it was surprisingly easy to drink despite the alcohol showing, the sweet malts and dark fruits partially masking it at points. The beer was quite an enjoyable one with a complex feel to it and plenty variety but it was still well-balanced throughout.

Overall (16/20): Another fine Barid offering that opened with a lot of sweet malts, caramel and toffee flavours as well as some darker fruits that helped keep things balanced and mask at least some of the alcohol content of the beer, although there was still a little showing in the early going. It’s quite a strong beer with a lot of flavour and complexity but it remained easy to drink and is definitely one of the better Scotch ale’s I’ve tried, although it’s not a style of beer I’ve drunk many of recently but this is definitely one that I’ll keep my eyes peeled for in future given how much I enjoyed this bottle.

Brewed In: Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan
Brewery: Baird Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2006
Type: Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy
Abv: 8.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Sinanoya Food & Liquor (Shinjuku, Tokyo)
Price: ¥507 (£3.36 approx.)